Joseph Kabila appoints his dauphin: the good and the bad

DRC Elections: Chaos during Dec 31, 2016 agreement signature

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Joseph Kabila has finally announced his candidate to replace him as the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The dauphin is  Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a former minister and  the Permanent secretary of the presidential party. He  has long been one of the closest associates to and point men of Joseph Kabila. Hence, as the candidate of Joseph Kabila's Front Commun for Congo (FCC) in  December 23rd, 2018 elections, he is a viable candidate. The fact that Joseph Kabila chose Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary has major pluses and minuses.

First the good

Joseph Kabila, by officially declaring his decision to stand down, a few months after Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza decided to do the same,  has fueled a wave  of democracy in the Great Lakes Region. Now, only two dictators remain in the region: Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.  Will the two dictators follow the example?

Second, the bad

Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary held ministerial and various high positions. Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Security between 2016 and 2018, he has been targeted since 2017 by sanctions by the European Union (EU) for human rights violations, including deadly crackdowns by security forces on protesters.
The EU considers him responsible for the arrest of activists and opposition members, disproportionate use of force and repressive measures against members of the Bundu Dia Kongo organization in Kinshasa and in the West of the country. He is also accused of bloody repression in Kasai. Hence, many wonders how, if elected,  he can run the country under such sanctions.   He is often described as the "bulldozer", based on his inflammatory diatribes  against opposition  and civil society leaders, especially those who challenged his stands that Joseph Kabila "is and will remain president."

The question remains on whether Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary will really be a candidate or a pawn in Joseph Kabila's strategy to remain in power.

In fact, many realize that Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary's "Joseph Kabila, forever" stand  was a cunning strategy  to never show his presidential ambition, unlike his competitors within FCC. It also can be a calculated distraction, engineered between Joseph Kabila and him, as they are pondering their next moves. If that is the case, who benefits from such cunning strategy? Obviously, Joseph Kabila.

A plethora of candidates within the opposition

The strategy of Joseph Kabila may have been fueled by the weakness and divisions within the opposition. As the deadline approached, 26 candidates had registered.

That means that Joseph Kabila's dauphin will face 26 opposition leaders, courting the same voters, and hence, reducing their chances of winning, if elections are ever held.

The 26 candidates are:

  1. Emmanuel Shadari
  2.  Adolphe Muzito
  3. Samy Badibanga
  4. Martin Fayulu
  5. Yves Mpunga
  6. Théodore Ngoy
  7. Honoré Ngube
  8. Gabriel Mokia
  9. Radjabo Mbira
  10. Marie José Ifoku
  11. Pasteur Maluta
  12. Bébé Malwalwa
  13. Laure Marie Kawanda
  14. Antoine Gizenga
  15. Charles Diavena Lutadila
  16. Noël Tsiani
  17. Michel Okongo et
  18. Sylvain Maurice Masheke .
  19. Seth Kikuni
  20. JP Bemba
  21. Félix Tshisekedi
  22. Vital Kamerhe
  23. Kin Kiey Mulumba
  24. Daniel Shekomba
  25. Freddy  Matungulu
  26. Jean Paul Mokia

Moise Katumbi, a candidate supported by Rwandan dictator General Paul Kagame, was denied entry to the country and has been blocked on the border with Zambia since mid last week. He missed the deadline. Will Moise Katumbi just give up?